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Yellowstone County reports 1st hospitalization for COVID-19

Health officials assuming 'community spread' of disease
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Posted at 3:21 PM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 23:24:56-04

Yellowstone County reported its first hospitalization of a patient with COVID-19 Friday, and health officials say they are assuming community spread of the disease has begun.

The man is in his 80s and in the hospital in Billings, officials with the Unified Health Command said in a news release. The man is stable and in fair condition and does not need a ventilator.

In addition, Yellowstone County is reporting Friday two new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, bringing the county-wide total to 22.

“The rise in cases of COVID-19 in Yellowstone County is likely due in part to increased testing,” said John Felton, Yellowstone County Health Officer and President/CEO of RiverStone Health. “Some of the individuals testing positive have unknown exposure and therefore we have made the assumption that we have community spread of COVID-19. Because of this, it is especially important that people follow the Governor’s directive and stay home whenever possible and stay six feet away from others if they have to leave home.”

Community spead means that people are starting to contract the disease from others around them. At first, people in Yellowstone County had contracted the disease by traveling elsewhere.

“We are seeing more cases and hospitalizations across the country and limiting face-to-face interactions and taking other precautions now are critical to slowing the spread and preventing our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed," Felton said.

Here are the cases:

· Female in her 50s, who had an international travel history.
· Female in her 20s, who had contact with a confirmed case.
· Male in his 80s, who had contact with a confirmed case.
· Female in her 20s, who had an international travel history.
· Male in his 20s, who had contact with a confirmed case.
· Male in his 20s, whose exposure is unknown.
· Male in his 30s, whose exposure in unknown.
· Female in her 30s, whose exposure is unknown.
· Male in his 20s, who had a domestic travel exposure.
· Female in her 20s, who had contact with a confirmed case.
· Male in his teens, who had contact with a confirmed case.
· Male in his 30s, whose exposure is unknown.
· Female in her 80s, whose exposure is unknown.
· Male in his 20s, contact with a confirmed case.
· Male in his teens, known contact with a confirmed case.
· Female in her 50s, who had a domestic travel exposure.
· Female in her 40s, investigation in progress.
· Female in her 40s, whose exposure is unknown.
· Female in her 20s, whose exposure is unkown.
· Male in his 50s, investigation in progress.
· Male in his 50s, investigation in progress.
· Female in her 60s, investigation in progress.
· Male in his 50s, investigation in progress.

In the future, because of the volume of cases in Yellowstone County, information on those cases will only be available through the Montana COVID-19 Case Map

If you think you have a respiratory illness, please follow this interim advice:

· If you are sick and have mild symptoms, stay home and self-isolate as much as possible.
· If you are sick enough that you would normally go to the doctor, call ahead to your care provider for instructions.
· To avoid spreading respiratory illnesses, please do not show up at a clinic, hospital, or testing site without calling in advance for instructions.

Everyday Precautions:

Since we are still in the midst of cold and flu season, we all have a responsibility to reduce risks of respiratory illness, including COVID-19.

· Wash your hands thoroughly and often.
· Avoid touching your face.
· Avoid large crowds, especially in enclosed spaces.
· Encourage all family members to cover their cough and sneezes with a tissue.
· Maintain social distance to avoid possible exposure to viruses.
· Avoid handshakes and hugs.
· Frequently clean “high-touch” surfaces in your home or workplace. Disinfect doorknobs, handles, keyboards, railings, remote controls, tabletops and counters.